Archive for January 6, 2020

I spent most of my life wanting to be a professional artist. The result was some fun and a few really interesting projects surrounded by a LOT of frustration. Sure, I got to work with a licensee of the Ninja Turtles for a while, but I also designed grocery circulars by the thousands. Sure I got to do some really cool murals and other pieces at a local tourist attraction, but I also spent quite a few years cutting and pasting while anything really creative was outsourced. In all those years, I consoled myself by telling myself and everybody I was a professional artist. It was technically true, but if I have to be honest, most of it was not fulfilling. This was not the life I dreamed of.

Today, I’m a pastor.

Now you might think I have put my art on the sideline. Totally and completely untrue. I probably do more art now than I did when I was trying to convince myself I was a professional artist. I do tons of graphics and illustrations, I work on creative ways to communicate God’s word. I teach painting workshops as an outreach and I get to travel and do live paintings while communicating the Gospel. Do I technically earn my living as an artist? No. Do I sell a lot of paintings? No, but here’s the thing. I am more fulfilled artistically than I have ever been in my life, and my work is seen and appreciated my a very supportive “audience” who is blessed by what I do. I don’t sell a lot of paintings, but people pay me to come and paint them, and I have given hundreds of them away. Am I an artist? Yes. I always have been and barring disaster, I always will be, but I have actually found something that matters to me much more. My God-given ability has not been wasted at all, as a matter of fact, for me, I believe I have found the most God=honoring use for what I have been given possible.

So many creative people pressure themselves to make their whole living in their chosen art form, and consider themselves as failures if they can’t pull it off. I did that to myself for entirely too long, and if I can, I’d love to save you the trouble. All that pressure cannot help but stifle your creativity, but what if, instead you look for the right opportunity, something that allows you to bring your best creativity to the table in a way that fulfills you creatively, plays the bills and allows you to bless and serve others.

I am not trying to make you a pastor, unless that is what God is calling you to do. What I am saying is life is to short and your gift is too valuable to waste it in compromise and frustration. Rather than insisting that you need to be a professional artist (writer, musician, etc.) with all the accompanying pressure, why not keep your eyes open until you find a way that fulfills you, and brings value to our world.